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Purdue MBA team wins Big 10 Plus Case Competition

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A talented team of Krannert MBA students took first place at the Big 10 Plus Case Competition at Ohio State University on April 2, besting universities including Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan State and Ohio State. 

Complete anonymity was the competition’s theme. Instead of using their institution’s name, teams received an assigned color that promoted individuality over brand.

Known as the Red Team, first-year MBA students Humphrey Kanyoke, Matthew Kennedy, Paula Navarro and Christine Rasquinha were prepared to win from the start. Despite a long drive and an unfortunate case of food poisoning, the group’s unwavering determination prevailed. In addition to the team win, Rasquinha took home the “best presenter” award.

The team had exactly 24 hours to prepare for a presentation focused on a business case for Installed Building Products, a leading manufacturer of insulation that recently launched a successful IPO with $1 billion of annual revenue. This competition was unique as it allowed participants to tour the facility and better understand the context of the case as well as the insulation industry.

Additionally, the team was able to ask questions of actual company executives.

“You’re asking questions and presenting to the CEO, CFO of a $1.5 billion dollar company. You have to look them in the eyes and convince them to take your recommendations seriously — that you are adding real value to their company,” said Navarro.

When asked what set their presentation apart from competitors, the team emphasized creative thinking and effective communication.

“We really considered all of the alternatives,” said Kanyoke. “We had a backup plan. Our presentation was sharp and our transitions were good. It ultimately came down to being prepared. We had that covered.” 

Utilizing concepts learned in classes spanning financial management, communication, marketing, and organizational behavior and human resources, among others, the team put together their winning plan. They attributed their victory to current Krannert professors and their encouraging mentoring team, which included second-year MBA student Dennis Hernandez; Teresa Taylor Sekine, clinical associate professor of management and area head for managerial communication; and Denise Driscoll, a continuous term lecturer in the same area.

Overall, the team predicts that the solution they presented would bring an estimated profit of $45 million to the company over the span of five years, if implemented.

The team looks forward to enrolling in future case competitions, with their sights set on continued success.

“We left the competition with a couple LinkedIn connections, a stack of business cards and a whole lot of memories,” said Matt Kennedy.